Port Authority – Viking Theatre – Review by Frank L.
Written by Conor McPherson
First performed in 2001, Port Authority is revived under the direction of Peter Reid at the Viking Theatre with Rex Ryan playing Kevin, Stephen Kelly, Dermot and Dick Tobin, Joe. The form of the play gives us “Irish man through his three stages of maturity – youth, middle age and old age.” There are but three chairs on stage with a down lighter over each with a dark greyish blue backdrop. Each actor is dressed in a manner that is to be expected of someone of that age. The story that each tells is to a certain extent typical of the minor successes and failures which inhabit ordinary citizens lives. This is no-nonsense reality. Because the triumphs and failures may appear small scale, they become important as they are the issues which consume Kevin, Dermot and Joe. Starting with the youth Kevin, each holds the stage, in turn, for several minutes while the other two sit impassively in their chair. Each “stage” is a world apart from the other two. McPherson’s script permits Kevin, Dermot and Joe to speak distinctly, uncluttered about the desires and fears which occupy their being.
The stories have a constant theme of an aspiration sought but not obtained. Each character engages with the plight of his predicament. There is a constant advancing and receding as the other two stories fade as the need to concentrate on the challenges facing the character who is speaking is paramount. There is a wave length rhythm. Each tells his story sometimes with humour but there is an inner loneliness to each. It is a privilege to be allowed to be a listener to each of these stories.
The intimacy of the Viking Theatre seems particularly well suited to this thoughtful insight into the inner most aspirations of the Irish man. McPherson probes and that is the strength of the play.
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